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This engaging volume contains several of Oates’s sermons and prayers. Tuck skillfully and accurately describes Oates’s approach to and beliefs about preaching as addressing the deepest needs of our personal and congregational lives. Then he summarizes his assumptions about the task of preaching. While this book does pay tribute to Oates, it primarily focuses on much-needed wisdom for contemporary clerics.
The selection of sermons speaks to current issues facing today’s serious seeker of mature faith for authentic living. Topics range from rootlessness of displaced persons, pursuing authenticity in identity, facing temptations, struggling with lust, and addressing a multitude of existential concerns. He speaks to matters of conflict, despair, and meaninglessness. These powerful messages grow from serious biblical deliberation, reflect sound theological reflection, and make creative use of great literature.
—G. Wade Rowatt
Senior Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling
Baptist Seminary of Kentucky ACPE Supervisor
The heart and soul of a gifted spiritual mentor often elude paper and pen, but this compendium of sermons and prayers of Wayne Oates are a faithful and keen reflection of a man who shaped the ministry of many pastors and teachers. Bill Tuck has done us all an enduring favor by capturing the substance of a rabboni who blended psychology and religion into messages of eternal insight.
—Daniel G. Bagby, PhD
Theodore F. Adams Emeritus Professor of Pastoral Care
Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond
Every day I have the privilege to sit in the Oates Institute office surrounded by the Wayne Oates Library. Hundreds of volumes addressing subject matter like psychiatry, psychology, ethics, spirituality, theology, biblical studies, medicine, psychology of religion and much more line the shelves. Moreover, there are provocative dissertations written by Wayne’s graduate students. Most notable are Bibles used by Oates in his ministry. One can readily see and feel the influence of so many academic and scholarly sources on his work.
William Tuck did a yeoman’s task of editing and organizing the sermons and prayers in an engaging manner. I would like to share our gratitude on behalf of the Oates Institute and all who will be touched by this labor of love.
As I read the sermons and prayers in this book, I was amazed, inspired, challenged, and comforted by the exegesis, integration, style, and impact. I couldn’t put the book down and was astounded at how contemporary the application of the Bible narrative is for the personal and societal problems we face today. Wayne’s extraordinary awareness of the human dilemma and his Holy Spirit-inspired vision of God’s and humankind’s needed response is uncanny. If you don’t want to be challenged and cared for out of the depths of this legendary minister’s preaching, then don’t start this book. If, on the other hand, you would l like to be rocketed forward into a wonderful spiritual journey, then begin!
—Rick Underwood, DMin
Director, Oates Institute, Louisville, Kentucky
Bill Tuck masterfully catches the essence of pastoral care pioneer Wayne Oates’s teaching through these sermons and prayers. An illustration in one of Wayne’s sermons was of a ten-year-old girl who found her father after he tragically killed himself with a pistol. Wayne spoke of “following this young girl” for four or five years closely, and beautifully describes how he nurtured, pastored, and loved this girl by calling, visiting, or writing regularly to remind her that she was not alone. Wayne Oates walked the talk of his preaching. I know because I was one of the fortunate recipients of his pastoral care like many others in his lifetime. This book reminds us of the foundation of faith that undergirded Wayne’s ministry.
—Malcolm Marler, DMin
Director of Pastoral Care, UAB Medicine, Birmingham, Alabama
(Former Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care with Bill Tuck as senior pastor at St. Matthews Baptist Church, and a former Chaplain Resident and colleague of Wayne Oates)
Read these sermons and prayers and look directly into the heart of Wayne Oates. He was a consummate counselor, theologian, and writer, but first of all he was a pastor. His identity—his very heart—was that of a pastor to people in the midst of life’s struggles. No struggle was foreign to him: depression, divorce, suicide, grief: he shied away from nothing. He gave voice to our deepest hurts, then followed with words we long to hear: you are not alone.
—Kay Shurden, EdD
Associate Professor Emeritus, Clinical Education
Mercer University School of Medicine, Macon, Georgia